There was a man who would marry his mother, and asked his
father for his mother’s hand in marriage, and was told he could
not marry his mother’s hand because it was attached to all
the rest of mother, which was all married to his father; that
he’d have to love something else . . .

And so he went into the world to love something else, and
fell in love with a dining room.
He asked someone standing there, may I have this dining
room’s hand in marriage?
You may not, its hand is attached to all the rest of it,
which has all been promised to me in connubial alliance, said
someone standing there.
Just because the dining room lives in your house doesn’t
necessarily give you claim to its affections . . .
Yes it does, for a dining room is always to be married to
the heir apparent in the line of succession; after father it’s
my turn; and only if all mankind were destroyed could you
succeed any other to the hand of this dining room. You’ll have
to love something else . . .

And so the man who would marry his mother was again in the
world looking for something to love that was not already
loved . . .

Analysis, meaning and summary of Russell Edson's poem The Having To Love Something Else

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